Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
Freshman Themes No. 2: Thanksgiving
College Humor
 
From “The Columbia Jester”

THANKSGIVING was originated by our New England ancestors in order that once a year they might get into a true, pious, Puritanical gloom. To this end they invented the New England mince pie and the Plymouth Rock chicken—the former to produce gloom inside; the latter to aid in the general effect by causing unpleasant fatigue of the jaw muscles. Their degenerate descendants have, however, done away with this latter feature, and the above-mentioned adamantine fowl has been replaced by the more easily chewed turkey. The pie, however, still remains, and the Great Pie Belt still marks the westward course of the Mayflower blood. In it pies are still eaten at breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and between meals by their pious and gloomy devotees. The only relaxation permitted on Thanksgiving was kicking Quakers around the lot, from which has developed the modern football game. The name Thanksgiving, according to John Fiske, originally referred to the day after, and indicated how glad they were it was all over; but other authorities regard it as an example of grim Puritan irony.
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